Monday, December 22, 2008

Pork Quality Assurance Training - PQA+ and the TQA Training

What: Pork Quality Assurance Training - PQA+ and the TQA Training
When: January 9, 2009
Where: Tifton Conference Center - Tifton, Georgia - Rooms 4 & 5
Audience: Commercial Pork Producers or Facility Managers

Dr. Robert Dove will be teaching the classes.
10:00-12:00- PQA +
1:30-4:30 TQA
There is no charge for the classes.
If you need further information, please contact Ken Lewis with UGA Cooperative Extension at 229-386-3812

The PQA+ and the TQA training being discussed are for the producers in the state. Producers need both of these certificates to be able to sell their animals to major packers. In the past County Agents were able to do the PQA training, however when PQA+ was introduced, agents and teachers were no longer included in the group of potential instructors. The PQA certificates were grandfathered until they expired. Many of them will expire in the next year and state faculty will have to conduct trainings to educate the producers.
Currently, there are 2 people in the state that can give PQA+ training (Dr. Robert Dove and Dr. David Reeves) and Robert is the only one trained to give the TQA training. Most (if not all) major packer that we are currently hauling to are requiring the PQA+ and most will require TQA by the end of 2009.

Recalls of Cocoa Products (December 19)

Thanks to Elizabeth Andress -

Three holiday G and J Gourmet Market Cocoa Products are being recalled, and this recall includes distribution nationwide to Big Lots stores and Shopko. The concern is possible melamine content. No injuries have been reported and only a few samples have, in fact, been found to include melamine. However, the manufacturer is proceeding with this recall in the interest of public health and the safety of American consumers.

Here is the FDA press release. have no further information myself; consumers are being urged to return the products to the place of purchase for a refund. There is a toll-free contact from the manufacturer provided in the FDA press release.

Elizabeth Andress
Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist
Director, National Center for Home Food Preservation
Department of Foods and Nutrition
The University of Georgia

Monday, December 15, 2008

Georgia Master Gardeners Winter Conference: Winter on the Flint

Winter on the Flint: The Quest for Sustainable Landscapes in a Changing World

Georgia Master Gardeners Winter Conference
Darton College in Albany, Georgia
February 6, 7 & 8, 2009

Speakers will include:

  • Rick Darke, Author
  • Jim Fowler, Naturalist
  • Dr. Katherine Kirkland, Ph.D., M.S. Ecology
  • Jason Powell, Owner of Petals from the Past
  • Janisse Ray, Author, Naturalist, Activist

    Our GOLD sponsor is Wright Turf ~

    You can get more information and register for the conference at

    You can also contact
    Dougherty County Cooperative Extension Office
    125 Pine Ave., Suite 100, Albany, GA 31701
    (229) 436-7216 or
    Carla Heard (229) 734-5696
    Juby Phillips (229) 888-0864

Friday, December 5, 2008

New forage publications

Dennis W. Hancock, PhD. Forage Extension Specialist has posted some new publications on the website.

The new publications are:

- Soil and Fertilizer Management Considerations for Forage Systems in Georgia
Link PDF

- Georgia Forages: Grass Species

- Georgia Forages: Legume Species
Link PDF

- Alfalfa Management in Georgia

- Forage Lectures on Video

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well water has rotten-egg smell? You can fix that...

I have had a few question on well water smelling like sulfur or rotten eggs. If you read below, Jim Crawford does a good job explaining why this happens and how you can fix the problem. Just for your information, you can get bacteria tests done by your county health department (typically).

By Jim Crawford
University of Georgia

Back when I was in junior high school, nothing tasted as good as cold water after track practice. But the rotten-egg smell of that "sulfur water" was enough to make a fellow go thirsty.

This is a fairly common condition in privately owned deep wells. Bacteria cause the smell. But don't be alarmed. Not all bacteria are the coliform type that poses a health hazard. Different species can cause odors without threatening the quality of your water.

If you have rotten-egg water, first check your wellhead to make sure you're not getting contaminated water into the well from any sort of runoff. If the top is secure, you can still get bacteria in the system. Many experts used to think the subsurface earth served as a giant filter to trap bacteria before it could enter the groundwater. That's not true.

We know now that many types of bacteria are native or adapted to saturated sediments and rock. Given time and a route, these bacteria will eventually find a way into the water system and can easily cause odors and off-taste.

The most common way to sanitize a well is with shock chlorination. Just use household bleach from any grocery or hardware store. But don't use scented chlorine products. Make sure you warn everyone in your home not to use the water during the treatment.

Depending on the amount of water in your well, the process can take many hours. You might want to arrange for an alternative source of drinking water for several hours or time the treatment for when you're asleep. Calculate the amount of bleach you'll need by figuring the amount of water in the well. Just subtract the depth to the water from the total depth of the well. Multiply that by 0.65 for a 4-inch well or 1.47 for a 6-inch well. Then add another 100 gallons for the tank and hot water heater. Use 3 pints of chlorine bleach for every 100 gallons. But you may want to double this amount if you have a really bad odor problem.

The odor is caused by hydrogen sulfide, which tends to neutralize chlorine. Fill the water tank, and be sure it's pressurized. Remove the well cap on the wellhead and pour in a 50:50 mixture of chlorine and water, or alternate pouring fresh water and chlorine into the well.

Hook a garden hose to the outdoor faucet nearest the well and place the end of the hose inside the well. Turn it on full force to circulate the water. Thoroughly rinse the sides of the well casing during this recirculation process.

When you can smell chlorine, stop and turn on the cold water taps in your kitchen and bathrooms until you smell chlorine from them, too. Flush the toilets. Then let the water stand in the system for at least 8 hours (12 to 24 is better). After this time, run the water outlets until the chlorine smell is gone.

Don't allow more than 100 gallons of chlorine-treated water to enter the septic system. A slight residual chlorine taste and odor will likely remain in the water for a couple of days, but it shouldn't be a problem.

Even after shock chlorination, the sulfur smell may return. Sometimes it's from the bacteria reacting with the anode rod in electric water heaters. You can solve recurring problems with sulfur-smelling water after shock chlorinating with a treatment system designed to remove hydrogen sulfide.

To learn more, get the circular, "Your Household Water Quality: Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfate," at your nearest University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office (1-800-ASK-UGA1). Or get a copy online at

Thanks to Jim Crawford for this, and I hope you can get rid of the smell.
- R.J.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bioenergy Hot Spot: Meigs, Georgia

From the December Forest 2 Market Newsletter:

On November 20, when Woodlands Alternative Fuels announced that it would build a wood pellet plant in Meigs, Georgia, few were surprised. Like Woodlands Alternative, many bioenergy companies have been flocking to Georgia over the last couple of years. There have been so many, in fact, that the state has dubbed a large swath of the state the Bioenergy Corridor. Many credit the state’s Bioenergy One Stop Shop with this success.

In April 2006, Georgia formed the Georgia Renewable Energy One-Stop Shop. The One-Stop Shop, which is now part of the Georgia Center for Innovation in Agriculture, holds working meetings in which pre-screened businesses are given an opportunity to present and discuss their bioenergy projects with representatives from over 20 state and federal agencies. The companies leave with the contacts they need to get started. The resulting streamlined permitting process takes just 90 days in most cases.

Georgia has also adopted income tax credits to offset the costs of installing biomass power plants and other renewable energy technologies. The credit covers up to 35 percent of the cost of a solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass installations. For businesses, the ceiling for the credit is $500,000, though the credit cannot exceed tax liability. Taxpayers are also eligible for credits resulting from the transportation of wood waste to biomass facilities on a per-ton basis.

When Woodlands Alternative opens in June 2009, it will join three other pellet plants (including Fram Renewables), a cellulosic ethanol industry led by Range Fuels (which is currently building the first commercial scale facility to produce ethanol from wood), and multiple wood-based power plants (like the one that Rollcast Energy will build to supply Santee Cooper with electricity). Because of these projects and others like them, we select Georgia as our Bioenergy Hot Spot this month.

Another article - link1 link2

Looks like the wood pellet industry is growing more and more. As the article states, this will be the 4th pellet plant in Georgia once it is up and running. Plus, it is in our own backyard.
- R.J.